What Are Chalk Markers (And Why They’re a Crafter’s BFF!)

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what are chalk markersAre you wondering about what are chalk markers? Well they are a very popular tool used by artistes today, sought after not just for the convenience for being able to just take the cap off and go to town, but their vibrancy and versatility of different uses. Kids as well as people our age are enjoying them, too!

Are you familiar with the kind of markers you have to shake up to get the metal ball on the inside rolling around to distribute the paint within? Well, these are a good example. You have to push on the nib a little to get the paint to flow, which is easily done with a test piece of paper nearby.

Why Are They Called Chalk Markers?

As far as how they got their name, well they don’t actually contain chalk per se ….they are called that due to the common practice of using them on whiteboards, and they kind of evolved to replace their namesake because of, well, all that dust they emanate.If you’ve ever been to a public venue that displayed colorful holiday-themed designs on the windows, chances are you probably wondered what they were made from – at one time it may have been tempera paint which is water soluble.

One thing that makes chalk markers distinctive is the fact that you can clean the ink off of nonporous surfaces (e.g. glass) easily,  Unlike “dry erase” markers that wipe off with the swipe of an eraser, you do however need to use something moist. I use something like rubbing alcohol or Pledge Multi-Surface. Now if you apply them on porous products like wood or fabric, they WILL pretty much stay put.

Can you paint with them?

I think they can do this very well – but it depends on how much intricacy of your design. If you like to create work with a lot of negative space, they do tend to work very well. Heavy details, not as much. If you attempt to go over a block of space you’ve colored in, they tend to “skip” or drag a little (unless you employ a technique like cross-hatching, instead of just straight blocking in areas.)

Here is an example of something – a Kleenex box, in which I used a stencil with various floral design shapes to dress up each side. I used my markers to fill in various details (but I did use a different kind of marker for heavy lines.)

what are chalk markers used for

As I said previously, they will set permanently to things like fabric – canvas tote bags, hats, sneakers, etc., are good examples of items that you could decorate easily with chalk markers. For tshirts and lighter fabrics, I would look into fabric pens instead.

The most popular uses to date include painting rocks, adorning mirrors and windows and promotional boards like menus, so they are great for the hospitality sector. You can craft holiday-themed designs for Christmas, Easter, July 4th, etc., etc., and wipe the designs off cleanly after the season ends.

Here’s another example…This is a fun centerpiece I made to celebrate Mardi Gras, using a flower pot, artificial color-themed plant, beads and solar light…the “sign”, I designed out of cardboard, and painted it solid black, and then used the yellow and brown markers to do the writing on it of “Bourbon Street”

sign using chalk markers

Keep in mind though that the longer they stay on a surface they are harder to scrape off and might leave a little residue behind. I found that out the hard way one time.I tried to “art up” one side of a cubic fridge and the purple ink I used left a residual stain behind.

You may be delighted to know that a few years back I was invited to test a new set of these markers from a company called Vinci’s Secret.  Of course, I happily obliged. I received (on the house) a 10 piece Jumbo Liquid Chalk Marker Set, plus Bonus gift of a free Adult Coloring Book with 10 black and white illustrations and guide “How to Become a Better Amateur Artist”

Marker Colors: Red, black, brown, light blue, purple, green, white, pink, orange and yellow. (As of lately, I seem to have misplaced the orange one)

what are chalk markers

This set is pretty much what I described in the opening paragraph. As you can see, I was delighted to be able to use them on my dry erase boards as so many markers intended seem to dry up sooner than expected. It’s not everyday that I see erasable chalk markers that’ll glide on a slick surface without a hiccup. Great for everyday mundane things like memos, “honey do” lists and don’t-forget deadlines. But why stop there, you can also leave cute notes around on the fridge or bathroom mirror.

Upon removing from the package, each barrel indicates the ink color. You want to shake them up vigorously so the ball gets rolling literally (these are just those kinds of markers with the metal ball in them).

When the pens are in their brand-new state the felt tip is clean white. After you have broken them in you will only need to re-shake them sparingly a few times. You may need to press down a little on the tip to get the paint flowing better.

After the occasion or holiday is over in which case you’ll have to, sadly, clean off your design (that’s when your smartphone camera will be your best friend!) You can use pure water from an atomizer bottle and a soft cloth, now if you run into what I did with the darker colors (black, purple, and red) they kind of have more staying power, which must be common in dark pigments.

You may need to apply Windex or one of my favorite cleaning agents, Pledge multi-surface spray. Don’t freak out, it will come up! I know I may have said “all nonporous surfaces” earlier, but if you have any doubt with something you do not want stained under any circumstances – you may want to stick with the lighter colors or abstain from that surface altogether.

erasable-chalk-markersYou can buy chalk markers at many places where craft supplies are sold, my set came from Amazon, and this company does have a website…I think they are a young company in their early stages. I had a pleasant dealing; the pdf bonus came a few days via email after I received the artist marker set in the mail…that part hadn’t crossed my mind then so it was a pleasant surprise.

If you are concerned about the safety of chalk markers, rest assured if you have kids, get them involved too, as these erasable chalk markers are not only fun but are nontoxic and certified safe for ages 3+.

I also received a bonus gift nicety from the company owner, Matt. I got 2 pdf’s: one is a coloring mini-book with 10 black and white illustrations in varying levels of detail (of which I don’t think I would use these markers as the ink may be a tad too strong for the paper.) The second bonus is an 8-page bonus guide on honing your art techniques.

chalk markers on glass

Do you feel like you have to disengage from simple pastimes like coloring because you’re, well… all grown up and so your tools have to “grow up” as well? Well I am here to tell you your tools don’t define you – even if you hold a master’s degree in fine art this unique artist marker set will make you feel like a free spirit again! young and old alike will have fun and plenty of uses….yes I even got a kick out of autographing my fish tank as you can see in the picture above .

Color Your World! Use chalk markers for decorating mirrors, windows, whiteboards, any time you just want to leave the brushes behind. Just shake – and create!

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